Sen. Jake Garn, R-Utah, pledged Wednesday to do all in his power to reverse a House decision to quintuple grazing fees on public lands.
"The House vote to increase the fee almost 500 times its current level is absolutely ludicrous. If it is allowed to go into effect, it will result in virtually wiping out Utah's livestock industry," Garn said.Garn, who is a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, which has Senate jurisdiction on the matter, pledged, "I will do everything within my power to persuade the Senate against this proposal. It would be absolutely devastating to Utah's ranchers."
The House on Monday amended the Interior Appropriations Bill by a 251-155 vote to raise grazing fees from the current $1.81 per animal unit month (the cost of grazing one cow and one calf for a month) to $4.35 next year and to $8.35 by fiscal 1994.
Garn said leaders of his subcommittee are proposing that grazing fees be kept at their current levels.
Garn was just one of many Western senators who were upset at the vote, which they see as possibly a back-door attempt by environmental groups to remove livestock from public lands or attempts by Eastern congressmen to interfere in the West.